Danny Welbeck wants Arsenal to keep their late 2016/17 momentum going by beating Chelsea on Sunday.
Although last season was largely disappointing, there’s no denying that it improved towards the end (as Arsenal’s seasons often do). The loss to Spurs was the only blot in a near-perfect run in, and during that run Arsenal also beat Manchester City and Chelsea at Wembley to win the FA Cup.
Now Welbeck wants Arsenal to go back and beat them again, so they can start the season full of confidence. He told the official match programme (via Evening Standard): “Coming into this game, it’s one we all want to win and we’ll treat it as importantly as any other match.
“A win would maintain the strong end we had to last season, which is important.”
Arsenal fans will be hoping that the Gunners do take the match seriously, as the pre-season defeat to Chelsea, although largely irrelevant, took away some bragging rights the fans had after the FA Cup win. As well as that, it would prove that the team was ready to finally challenge for the title.
Welbeck said that the FA Cup provided the team with an opportunity for a turning point, adding, “We knew we should have been doing much better, but we had to stick together as a group and thankfully it all came together in the final. As a group, and as a club, we deserved that.”
Whilst a large part of the poor atmosphere last year was caused by Arsene Wenger’s contract situation, Danny was keen to emphasise the positive role that the boss has had since he arrived in 2014. “The boss has been nothing but brilliant since I came here,” Danny said.
“I’ve had some difficult times being out of action, twice, and he has always given me advice and shown faith in me. I was really pleased when it was announced he was staying.”
Finally, Danny said that the change in formation wasn’t just good for the team, but also for him, as long as he continues to be involved. “The new system enabled us to get behind opposing defences a bit more and so it worked really well for me,” he continued. “We can now play in a number of formations and they all suit me, to be honest. The main thing for me is that I’m on that pitch; I need to be playing!”
Danny may find playing time a bit harder to come by with the arrival of Lacazette when all other options are fit. Although Lucas Perez is on the way out, the rest will challenge him. Luckily for him, the new formation seems to benefit Danny, so it’s just about keeping his performance levels up when he’s called upon.